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Karzai set to ink ‘secret deal’ to knock Abdullah out of race

As Hamid Karzai prepares for his toughest electoral battle,the Afghan President is in the final stages of inking a secret deal with one of his rivals....

Written by Press Trust Of India | London |
August 8, 2009 3:08:21 am

As Hamid Karzai prepares for his toughest electoral battle,the Afghan President is in the final stages of inking a secret deal with one of his rivals to ensure a decisive victory in the presidential poll on August 20,a news report said on Friday.

Afghanistan’s second democratic polls,which is less than two weeks away,threaten to split the the restive country along sectarian lines amid fears of undermining the US-led war against the resurgent Taliban.

Analysts predict that country could be engulfed in a massive civil war reminiscent of the 1990s if Karzai or his challenger Abdullah Abdullah fail to win an outright victory on August 20.

“The whole country is armed. Everybody has weapons. You have to keep everyone happy,” an Afghan analyst said.

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Abdullah’s supporters,who are largely Tajik,have threatened to hold protest demonstrations of Iranian-style,but “with Kalashnikovs”,should the Karzai win a second term. They insist the president could win only fraudulently.

Although Karzai,a Pashtun,is expected to stay ahead,Ashraf Ghani,the third candidate could split Pashtun vote and deprive the President of the 51 per cent share needed for an outright victory.

Now Afghan officials said the President had offered Ghani a job as chief executive — a new post described as similar to Prime Minister,to knock Abdullah out of the race.

“If Ghani agrees to the terms,Karzai will dump his team and move forward,with Karzai as President and Ghani as chief executive,” a campaign official was quoted as saying by The Independent newspaper of Friday.

Sources close to the Karzai’s inner circle confirmed that they had made an offer to Ghani two weeks ago and the President’s brother,Qayum Karzai,had made the first approach,the British daily said.

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